Computers, Laptops & Tablets Accessories & Hardware 143 143 people found this article helpful USB Type-A Everything you need to know about the USB-A connector by Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated on April 15, 2020 reviewed by Ryan Perian Lifewire Tech Review Board Member Ryan Perian is a certified IT specialist who holds numerous IT certifications and has 12+ years' experience working in the IT industry support and management positions. our review board Article reviewed on Mar 25, 2020 Ryan Perian Accessories & Hardware The Quick Guide to Webcams Keyboards & Mice Monitors Cards HDD & SSD Printers & Scanners Raspberry Pi Tweet Share Email USB Type-A connectors, officially called Standard-A connectors, are flat and rectangular in shape. Type A is the "original" USB connector and is the most recognizable and commonly used connector. USB Type-A connectors are supported in every USB version, including USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and USB 1.1. USB 3.0 Type-A connectors are often, but not always, the color blue. USB 2.0 Type-A and USB 1.1 Type-A connectors are often, but not always, black. The part of the USB Type-A cord that plugs into a device is called the plug or a connector and the part that accepts the plug is called the receptacle but is commonly referred to as the port. Lifewire / Tim Liedtke USB Type-A Uses USB Type-A ports/receptacles are found on almost any modern computer-like device that can act as a USB host, including, of course, computers of all kinds including desktops, laptops, netbooks, and many tablets. USB Type-A ports are also found on other computer-like devices like video game consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, Wii, etc.), home audio/video receivers, "smart" televisions, DVRs, streaming players (Roku, etc.), DVD and Blu-ray players, and more. Most USB Type-A plugs are found at one end of many different kinds of USB cables, each designed to connect the host device to some other device that also supports USB, usually via a different USB connector type like Micro-B or Type-B. USB Type-A plugs are also found at the end of cables that are hard-wired into a USB device. This is typically how USB keyboards, mice, joysticks, and similar devices are designed. Some USB devices are so small that the cable isn't necessary. In those cases, a USB Type-A plug is integrated directly into the USB device. The common flash drive is a perfect example. USB Type-A Compatibility The USB Type-A connectors outlined in all three USB versions share basically the same form factor. This means that the USB Type-A plug from any USB version will fit into the USB Type-A receptacle from any other USB version and vice versa. That said, there are some significant differences between USB 3.0 Type-A connectors and those from USB 2.0 and USB 1.1. 1:49 What is USB 3.0? USB 3.0 Type-A connectors have nine pins, considerably more than the four pins that make up USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 Type-A connectors. These additional pins are used to enable the faster data transfer rate found in USB 3.0 but they are placed in the connectors in a way that does not prevent them from physically working with Type-A connectors from the previous USB standards. See the USB Physical Compatibility Chart for a graphical representation of physical compatibility between USB connectors. Just because the Type-A connector from one USB version fits in the Type A connector from another USB version does not mean that the connected devices will work at the highest speed, or even at all.